LUMBERTON — The City Council approved an agreement with the Robeson County Community Development Corporation on Monday for credit counseling services for city residents having financial difficulties.
Despite a reluctant vote taken at the council’s Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday, the council gave its full support to the local nonprofit rather than a Fayetteville group, Consumer Credit Counseling, with the understanding that the city would have oversight.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilmen Leon Maynor and John Cantey asked that the city staff to seek letters of recommendation from both of the organizations because the town of Rowland recently withheld its support for the Robeson County Community Development Corporation’s plans to renovate a downtown building to house the Rowland Business Community Center.
According to a July article from The Robesonian, the Rowland Board of Commissioners withheld its support because the downtown building had been leased by a business that had included Internet Sweepstakes gaming and there had been complaints by town residents that the building did not meet all local codes.
On Monday, Brandon Love, director of the Planning and Neighborhood Services Department, presented the council with several references for each organizations, which Maynor said settled his concerns about the local agency.
“We try to keep the money locally,” Maynor said, “which is what we did here. The Planning Department has assured us that they will be monitoring.”
The credit counseling services will be paid for through a Community Development Block Grant program from the fiscal year 2008.
Also on Monday, the council held a public hearing to inform residents about the newest Community Development Block Grant program.
In 2011, the state received about $38 million in federal funds for the program, which aims to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environment for its residents. The categories in which the city is eligible to apply include: infrastructure improvements, small business assistance, and a new program called N.C. Catalyst, which allows for housing developments and special projects for public facilities.
Each municipality cannot receive more than $1.5 million in one year.
The hearing was the first of two hearings required to qualify for the program.
In other business, the council:
— Approved a service contract with Waste Management for residential solid waste collection that includes curbside recycling. Maynor voted against the motion.
— Approved a conditional-use permit for Debbie Barnes to operate a bingo parlor and game center at 3427 Lackey St. with the following conditions: only beach bingo would be allowed; the establishment provides licensed security guards or off-duty police officers for security; no gaming machines; no sale of alcohol during gaming; six employees present; the serving of food is prohibited; occupancy level will be set by the fire marshal following inspection; operating hours Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. only.
— Recognized the winners of the 2011 Arbor Day poster contest at Carroll Middle School. The first place winner was Yu Sun; second was Kiarah Bledsole; and third place was Kerstan Nealy. All are in the sixth grade.
— Approved a capital project ordinance, which is required to establish funding for the construction of the new police station. The city was recently approved for $3 million interim financing from BB&T.
— Approved a budget amendment to the Powell Bill fund because it received $15,540 less than originally budgeted. The new Powell Bill fund budget includes $632,880 in revenues and $449,040 in expenditures.
— Renewed a two-year technical maintenance contract with Progressive Engineering Consultants, which is used on an as-needed basis.
— Approved a $355,937 contract with AT&T for an emergency 911 controller, which is the device that receives calls to the city’s 911 center. Legal review of the contract is still pending.
— Approved the Planning and Public Works departments’ grant application to the Federal Highway Administration for the enhancement of the Carthage Road corridor as an entryway from Interstate 95. The first phase of the project is projected to cost $695,000 — $556,000 of which will be paid for by the grant and $139,000 to be paid by the city.
— Approved the purchase of a $10,995 copier and scanner from Sandhills Office Systems for the Planning, Public Works and Electric Utilities departments.
— Referred to the Planning Board a conditional-use permit request from Donald Lee Thompson, who wants to operate a pool hall and game center at 219 E. Third St.
— Approved a $6,190.46 purchase of two transnet radio relays, surge protectors and other components for monitoring the sewage plant.
— Approved the final contract with Barnes Paving for the recent completion of a citywide paving project in the amount of $2.78 million.
— Approved the rules and regulations for city-owned cemeteries.
— Approved a $4,069 grant from the Lumber River Area Agency on Aging from the Pine Street Senior Center. A local match of 25 percent is required.
— Approved December tax releases in the amount of $2,757.84.
— Designated $150 of Councilman John Robinson’s community revitalization money for a handicap ramp at 2210 Musselwhite Drive.
— Reach staff writer Ali Rockett at 910-272-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.